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JohnBrowning
08-10-2004, 08:58 AM
Does the CCD size matter? Why?

Rhys
08-10-2004, 09:16 AM
Does the CCD size matter? Why?

CCD size is not important in the slightest to the end-user. It's like a discussion on whether a 16 valve V 8 engine is better than a 16 valve straight 8 engine is better. They both make the car go quite well.

John_Reed
08-10-2004, 10:09 AM
Does the CCD size matter? Why?I'll have to respectfully disagree with Rhys on his answer. CCD size can be stated in "Number of Pixels," or a ratio related to physical measurements of size, usually a number like 1/1.8", for example. You should review this (http://www.dpreview.com/news/0210/02100402sensorsizes.asp) page for a discussion of what this ratio means. Size matters, because the recent trend is for manufacturers to cram more and more pixels onto relatively small-sized sensors, and the smaller a pixel site is physically, the more likely it will be to generate "noise," "noise" being defined as random aberrations in color or luminance, which starts to show up as we raise the ISOs for our cameras. All dSLRs that I know of are blessed with much larger pixel sites than the "lesser" fixed-lens cameras, so they gather light with much more uniformity, and can be used at ISOs up to 1600 or even higher, whereas the typical small-sensor camera starts to run out of gas around ISO 200. The benefits of small sensor size for the camera maker is that very high-quality lenses can be crafted, possible only because of the small objective field. For example, the Leica-licenced lenses that Panasonic uses in its FZ10 camera give excellent optical performance, and can hold a maximum aperture of f2.8 over the entire zoom range of 35mm to 420mm equivalent. But take away the "equivalent," and it's really 6mm to 72mm, a considerable physical size reduction. No one even attempts to make a full-size lens for a dSLR or even a 35mm camera with this kind of performance, it would just be too big and heavy! Did I say that sensor size matters? It does, IMO.

Rhys
08-10-2004, 11:45 AM
I'll have to respectfully disagree with Rhys on his answer. CCD size can be stated in "Number of Pixels," or a ratio related to physical measurements of size, usually a number like 1/1.8", for example. You should review this (http://www.dpreview.com/news/0210/02100402sensorsizes.asp) page for a discussion of what this ratio means. Size matters, because the recent trend is for manufacturers to cram more and more pixels onto relatively small-sized sensors, and the smaller a pixel site is physically, the more likely it will be to generate "noise," "noise" being defined as random aberrations in color or luminance, which starts to show up as we raise the ISOs for our cameras. All dSLRs that I know of are blessed with much larger pixel sites than the "lesser" fixed-lens cameras, so they gather light with much more uniformity, and can be used at ISOs up to 1600 or even higher, whereas the typical small-sensor camera starts to run out of gas around ISO 200. The benefits of small sensor size for the camera maker is that very high-quality lenses can be crafted, possible only because of the small objective field. For example, the Leica-licenced lenses that Panasonic uses in its FZ10 camera give excellent optical performance, and can hold a maximum aperture of f2.8 over the entire zoom range of 35mm to 420mm equivalent. But take away the "equivalent," and it's really 6mm to 72mm, a considerable physical size reduction. No one even attempts to make a full-size lens for a dSLR or even a 35mm camera with this kind of performance, it would just be too big and heavy! Did I say that sensor size matters? It does, IMO.


Yes but the end use needs only more basic information - does it take a good picture and is it easy to use. The sensor is really only of interest to people who take a technical interest in the insides of their cameras. While being interested in what's inside, my main interest is whether it does what I want it to do. As such, sensor size is of little to no interest.

John_Reed
08-10-2004, 12:13 PM
Yes but the end use needs only more basic information - does it take a good picture and is it easy to use. The sensor is really only of interest to people who take a technical interest in the insides of their cameras. While being interested in what's inside, my main interest is whether it does what I want it to do. As such, sensor size is of little to no interest.Rhys, there a an awful lot of non-technical people who seem to have a keen interest in sensor size. One of the biggest reservations prospective users have about the new Panasonic cameras, for example, is "Will the photos be noisier because of the smaller sensor size?" They may not know technical beans about it, but it's still of some concern to them. In particular, the FZ20 has a 5MP sensor that's the same size as the FZ10's 4MP sensor, so all sorts of people have reservations about how the FZ20's photos will compare to the FZ10's photos. Going back to your film days, it didn't take a photographic technician to understand that Kodachrome 25 would give fine-grain photos, and Ektachrome 400 would be a lot grainier, right? Anyway, it's like arguing religion or politics, I won't try to change your mind.

Rhys
08-10-2004, 03:22 PM
Rhys, there a an awful lot of non-technical people who seem to have a keen interest in sensor size. One of the biggest reservations prospective users have about the new Panasonic cameras, for example, is "Will the photos be noisier because of the smaller sensor size?" They may not know technical beans about it, but it's still of some concern to them. In particular, the FZ20 has a 5MP sensor that's the same size as the FZ10's 4MP sensor, so all sorts of people have reservations about how the FZ20's photos will compare to the FZ10's photos. Going back to your film days, it didn't take a photographic technician to understand that Kodachrome 25 would give fine-grain photos, and Ektachrome 400 would be a lot grainier, right? Anyway, it's like arguing religion or politics, I won't try to change your mind.

Yes. They've been worried and misled by advertisers and psuedo-scientists who tell them all kinds of nonsense. All they need to know is - can it take good pictures and how big can they be printed.

D70FAN
08-10-2004, 03:46 PM
Does the CCD size matter? Why?

John, I think this article can explain the relative importance of size versus density.

http://www.digicaminfo.btinternet.co.uk/sensors1.htm

Digicam Info has several good basic tutorials on digital cameras.

Enjoy.

John_Reed
08-10-2004, 05:42 PM
John, I think this article can explain the relative importance of size versus density.

http://www.digicaminfo.btinternet.co.uk/sensors1.htm

Digicam Info has several good basic tutorials on digital cameras.

Enjoy.So George, are you agreeing that CCD size doesn't matter? That your D70 really has no inherent advantage over say, a Nikon 8700? That was the question of this thread.

Rhys
08-10-2004, 06:54 PM
So George, are you agreeing that CCD size doesn't matter? That your D70 really has no inherent advantage over say, a Nikon 8700? That was the question of this thread.

I don't know what George has to say but my tuppenny worth is that CCD size doesn't matter - it's what you do with the CCD that matters. The D70 is essentailly an S1 or an FZ10 with interchangable lenses.

JohnBrowning
08-10-2004, 10:00 PM
Thanks for the information. You all make good points.

Rhys is right in that a non-technical end user like myself is interested primarily in "whether it does what I want it to do". However, that's why I asked. For example, I want to be able to take good pictures of my kids in their little school plays, and recitals, and ballet things, etc. Knowing that the CCD size effects the camera's performance in low light situations will certainly affect my analysis in deciding what camera to choose. Rather than being "misled by advertisers" with their nonsense, I can now compare the CCD sizes and make an informed decision.

So, the question becomes this -- what are your opinions regarding the appropraite MP to CCD size ratio for the different ISOs. Since pixel sensor size on the CCD affects picture quality, there must be a range of good quality (you wouldn't want 10MP crammed onto a tiny 1/1.8" CCD).

D70FAN
08-10-2004, 10:39 PM
Did any of you read the tutorial? Did you notice that a 2/3" sensor is about 58 square mm, and an APS-C sensor is 419 Square mm?

Of course physical size does matter. If you smash 8 million pixels into a 2/3" sensor the signal to noise is awful. We have seen this time and time again. Take that same 8 megapixels and put it into a 35mm sensor and the noise goes through the floor ala Canons 1Ds.

People need to be aware of this fact. Period. It makes a difference in which camera I would buy, or recommend to someone else.

John_Reed
08-10-2004, 10:53 PM
Did any of you read the tutorial? Did you notice that a 2/3" sensor is about 58 square mm, and an APS-C sensor is 419 Square mm?

Of course physical size does matter. If you smash 8 million pixels into a 2/3" sensor the signal to noise is awful. We have seen this time and time again. Take that same 8 megapixels and put it into a 35mm sensor and the noise goes through the floor ala Canons 1Ds.

People need to be aware of this fact. Period. It makes a difference in which camera I would buy, or recommend to someone else.I didn't need the tutorial to know that you're right, George. But I left it up to you to hit the long ball.

JohnBrowning
08-11-2004, 04:28 PM
Did you guys see my post in the Konica Minolta? The DiMage A1 is a 5MP, the A2 is an 8MP -- both with the same CCD size. So, the A2 has a higher SNR. Any idea whether this has played out in real life? Or whether Minolta found a way around it?

John_Reed
08-11-2004, 05:03 PM
Did you guys see my post in the Konica Minolta? The DiMage A1 is a 5MP, the A2 is an 8MP -- both with the same CCD size. So, the A2 has a higher SNR. Any idea whether this has played out in real life? Or whether Minolta found a way around it?John - I extracted Jeff's review results from both cameras:
DiMage A1 night shot from DCRP review, at ISO 200:
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/minolta/dimage_a1-review/nightshot200-crop.jpg
DiMage A2 night shot from DCRP review, at ISO 200:
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/minolta/dimage_a2-review/nightshot200-crop.jpg
It looks to me like the A1's image is acceptable, noise-wise, but I wouldn't say the same about the A2's image? You be the judge. I guess you could also troll on the dpreview "Minolta Talk" forum for noise comparisons between the two, of which I'm sure there are many!

blr
08-13-2004, 08:52 AM
I'd like to point towards another aspect of the CCD size. Smaller sensors use shorter focal length lenses in order to get the same equivalent zoom range. This has one major consequence, cameras fitted with small sensors have almost unlimited Depht Of Field (DOF) even at large apertures. This is both good and bad. Landscapes with foreground for instance benefit from the increased DOF but with portraits it is impossible to throw the background sufficiently out of focus. Short focal length also means that it is becoming increasingly difficult to build wider angle zooms. That's why most compact cameras start from 35-38 mm equivalent at the wide end.

D70FAN
08-13-2004, 09:27 AM
Did you guys see my post in the Konica Minolta? The DiMage A1 is a 5MP, the A2 is an 8MP -- both with the same CCD size. So, the A2 has a higher SNR. Any idea whether this has played out in real life? Or whether Minolta found a way around it?

When you are getting into this price range, and camera size, it may be time to start evaluating dSLR's. While the Canon DReb is not my favorite, it would be a far better choice for still camera use. Keep in mind that dSLR's do not offer video mode (no big loss).

Rhys
08-13-2004, 02:07 PM
When you are getting into this price range, and camera size, it may be time to start evaluating dSLR's. While the Canon DReb is not my favorite, it would be a far better choice for still camera use. Keep in mind that dSLR's do not offer video mode (no big loss).

High-quality video from the S1 is excellent. It does, however, take up a lot of storage space. I'm talking 256mb for 2 1/2 minutes at VGA size, 30fps. I can't see memory cards overtaking videotape just yet although in the future I'm sure they will.

Actually, i think a decent video mode on a DSLR would be excellent. I can imagine a lot of press people could be interested in something like the S1 with more pixels.

D70FAN
08-13-2004, 03:35 PM
High-quality video from the S1 is excellent. It does, however, take up a lot of storage space. I'm talking 256mb for 2 1/2 minutes at VGA size, 30fps. I can't see memory cards overtaking videotape just yet although in the future I'm sure they will.

Actually, i think a decent video mode on a DSLR would be excellent. I can imagine a lot of press people could be interested in something like the S1 with more pixels.

Maybe the S1 with an APS size sensor? or a Canon EOS 300DV? Or a nikon DV70? Hmmm.

You could leave the mirror in lock-up and monitor the image through what is now the the preview LCD. 4GB would net 40 minutes. Actually you could go 900 x 600 (3:2) and use low compression MPEG4.

I could go for something like that. Make it $999 (ok $1099) with an IS 18mm-216mm lens (27mm-324mm in 35mm equivalent) and you've got a deal.

I bet John would buy one of these.

Jake Conner
08-15-2004, 12:26 PM
Yeah, and a video capable CCD would allow a tilt/swivel preview screen (with mirror lockup enabled), as I've been saying for a while, but no one seems interested in producing this... maybe there's a problem with video-capable CCDs that size, even the forthcoming Epson/Cosina rangefinder doesn't have one.

Jake